Rocacorba Daily: Wednesday March 20

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We’re a little bit late this morning with delivering the Rocacorba Daily news, but that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of things to write about. Today we have coverage of yesterday’s racing, drama and gossip from the pro peloton, some footage of a mountain biker colliding with an antelope at the Cape Epic, and a few other interesting pieces. Last but not least, birthday wishes to a local legend…

Volta a Catalunya – Meersman take stage 2

(AFP) Belgian rider Gianni Meersman retained the overall lead in the Tour of Catalonia after making it two stages wins in as many days on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old beat home Italian Daniele Ratto and Brett Lancaster of Australia in a sprint finish to the 160.7km ride from Girona to Banyuls.

Meersman sits atop the overall standings, 16sec ahead of Spain’s Alejandro Valverde with Swiss Danilo Wyss a further four second adrift.

Meersman benefited from a crash on the final bend which saw several contenders for the stage win come to grief or being hindered so badly they had no chance of recovering.

On Wednesday the overall favourites for the title such as Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins should come to the fore as the riders face their first tough challenge with the 180km ride climaxing at the ski station of Vallter 2000.

See here for full results of the 2013 Volta a Catalunya.

Nathan Earle wins stage 2 of Tour of Taiwan

Nathan Earle of Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers won stage 2 of the Tour of Taiwan yesterday. However, he missed taking the leader’s jersey by only three seconds from winner of stage 1, Kirill Pozdnyakov from Russia (Synergy Baku Cycling Project) who finished the stage just six seconds back.

The race for the overall is still wide open and stage 3 in the Changhua county today will give Earle another occasion to challenge Pozdnyakov with a short uphill finish in front of the massive Baguashan Buddha statue.

You can read more about the stage along with a post race video interview with Earle on the Tour of Taiwan website.

Tom Scully wins Tour de Normandie Prologue

In the past we’ve looked at the Aussies abroad with Team Raleigh. Well now it’s time to extend the love to our ANZAC compatriots and Kiwi Tom Scully ripped out a brilliant prologue effort to take victory at the Tour of Normandy. A Team Chipotle and Garmin Stagiare rider last year Scully has been on the cusp of cracking the big league and it appears he hasn’t lost any of his fight. Remember this name folks!

Cyclists drug addicts in 1990s, says Brailsford

EPO use and blood transfusions was the natural path for those who cheated in the 1990s, according to Sky’s team principal, David Brailsford.

Brailsford said at the Advertising Week Europe conference in London, “It is similar to someone having their first joint and then moving onto ecstasy or whatever. Then the next thing you know it is everyone on crack cocaine.”

Sky enforces a zero-tolerance for its riders and staff member. Last year, it fired Race Coach Bobby Julich and sports director, Steven De Jongh.

Read more on the Guardian.

Andy Schleck looks ahead after problems

Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Leopard) looks ahead to the Ardennes Classics and Tour de France after a recent round of problems. Last week, a French politician said he saw the Luxembourger drunk in a Munich hotel.

“The Munich story is ridiculous. I forgot pretty fast about it and I don’t want to comment on it any more,” Schleck told RTL.

“I’m optimistic. I’m working hard, harder than before. Since January I only slept six nights in my own bed at home. I believe that I can be a great cyclist once again. I will keep on working hard and I know that the people who believe in me will keep believing in me. I hope it will work out better in the future.”

In addition to the hotel incident, Schleck abandoned or skipped a string of races this spring. The bad start follows a crash in the Critérium du Dauphiné last June and subsequent Tour miss.

Read more on Velonation.

Radioshack pulls sponsorship at year-end

RadioShack will pull its team sponsorship at the end of the year according to French newspaper, L’Equipe. The sports daily reported that the Fränk Schleck doping case, Johan Bruyneel link and a drop in overseas earnings, led to the electronics retailer’s decision.

The sponsor came on board in 2012 with former GM, Bruyneel. He brought RadioShack from the team he started in 2009 with Armstrong.

Read more on L’Equipe.

Cape Epic: mountain biker hits antelope

It’s three stages into the Absa Cape Epic in South Africa right now and have a look at this footage of Robert Mennen (Team Topeak Ergon) during stage 1 where he hits a small antelope. He crashed snapping his handlebars and broke his left clavicle. The disappointment would have been huge for Mennen, who along with Alban Lakata, was in fourth place overall and in contention for a podium spot. Check out the footage. He never had a chance…

You can follow the coverage of the Absa Cape Epic on their website.

Bremen Sixdays

Ever been to a Sixdays race? Well here’s a taste of what you’re missing. This video shows the 49th Sixdays in Bremen, Germany where a massive convention center is used to facilitate the event with well over 100,000 people attending. Scott McGrory won this race in 2001 and has his name on the track wall along with all the other winners. Check out this party:

The Bike Lane – Spring Classics Season

Matt Keenan, Scott McGrory and I kicked off 2013 by trying something new, The Bike Lane. In case you missed Series 1, it’s a weekly series of of video episodes where we chat about all the hotly debated topics in cycling. Nothing is off limits.

This morning we shot Season 2 (7 episodes) which will concentrate on the Spring Classics.  We’ve taken your feed back and made it tighter and shorter, and we look forward to sharing it with you. It will be up tomorrow morning.

The Bike Lane crew: John and Ben in the back (these are the guys who make it all happen), Scott, Matt and myself in the front.

 

Happy birthday Phil!

Last but not least, happy 55th birthday to Phil Anderson. His Wikipedia page says his birthday is on March 12, but facebook says it’s today. Either way, at 55 years young he’ll still ride you off his wheel. Have a wonderful day Phil. Say happy birthday to him on twitter.

Check out Phil Anderson’s cycling tours if you want to go on a holiday with a living legend. Watch the video below (23 Days in July) to understand how much of a legend he is…


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